The UTM writers pick a handful of the most lit and intriguing tracks from the past 30(ish) days.
Brockhampton – Junky
Picking a favourite Brockhampton track from the last month is a major task, you could pick ‘SWAMP’ for Dom McLennon’s attention-demanding verse, ‘FOLLOW’ for Kevin Abstract’s infectious hook or ‘SWEET’ for Joba’s humorous falsetto. However, none of those tracks provide the same consistent chills that ‘JUNKY’ does upon revisiting.
One of the most exciting things about Brockhampton as rappers is that nobody is ever slacking, it always feels like any one member could take the crown for best verse on the track. Everyone is aiming for their best here, with some of their most evocative verses yet.
While it pretends to have a hook within the piano strikes and harsh wails, ‘JUNKY’ operates more like a cypher. Joba’s demonic deadpan and Dom McLennon’s frenetic precision are brief, but they both shine in their limited time, even if they leave you demanding more. Merlyn Wood sticks with his recognisable wild patois as he raps about strained family relationships, while Matt Champion trades his usual effortless cool for unrestrained fury and Ameer Vann is harrowing as his hedonistic drug usage escalates as his verse progresses.
Nobody can quite top Kevin Abstract though, whose confrontational verse is equally braggadocious and anxious, as he riles against the criticism of focusing on his sexuality in his lyrics with this incredibly impactful couplet: “Why you always rap about bein’ gay?/’Cause not enough n****s rap and be gay.”
Rich Chigga – Glow Like Dat
Even the funniest motherfuckers have feelings, and Brian Imanuel AKA Rich Chigga is now showing his softer side with new track ‘Glow Like Dat’.
Love is a very complex and often disturbing feeling, probably something that a 17-year-old doesn’t really have a grasp of yet. Consequently, Rich Chigga’s musings on the subject are innocent and nakedly honest. The chorus especially has a straightforward naïveté, as Imanuel spits, “Thinkin’ ’bout the times when you would go into my house/Had to let you go like that, I’d say it fucked me up.”
It’s a pretty refreshing track from someone like Imanuel, who garners as much respect for his bangers as for his comedic persona. Although, even in a song about lost love, he can’t resist making a few jokes: “You go through my mind all day/All night, it feels like immigration.”
Ducky – ‘Oceans’
Ducky‘s devotion to the do-it-yourself mantra and the preservation of rave culture are two of the fundamental aspects that cement her position as a beacon (or perhaps glow stick would be more apt) for dance music going forward. Her original works are precision-built and loaded with dynamic feelings, with the kinetic euphoria that ricochets through ‘Bliss’ or the all-out audacity that drives ‘Hack The Club’ being prime examples of her previous handiwork.
On her latest EP I Fall In Love With Everyone I Meet – which was released via her own label QUACKHOUSE Records – Ducky continues to fire her rave cannons on all cylinders. Whilst it’s packed wall-to-wall with floor-fillers any club or warehouse would clamour to have in rotation, it’s ‘Oceans’ that lands the record’s critical hit – sandwiching an atmospheric refrain led by her cybernetic vocals between slabs of crunchy synths and unrelenting airhorns.
RABBII – All Men Must Die
RABBII have always been political, but never so overtly as on ‘All Men Must Die’, a song where they demand the social construct of the man is eliminated, understandable as it’s a construct one causing so much ill to society. Of course, the internet is full of idiots so a comical post-video disclaimer is essential in laying out the central message.
They recall The Knife vocally on a verse that is centred around a chaotically, bouncing beat, with an airy pre-chorus building to an anthemic soundscape of captivating vocal samples. The video deserves a mention to, repurposing Trump’s MAGA hats into All Men Must Die hats (where cop?) and showing people eating hot dogs, perhaps a not particularly subtle way of killing off a certain male appendage.
With a sharp sense of humour and a political statement that needs addressing within a wondrous pop track, this is hopefully the kind of RABBII we will be seeing in years to come.
IAMSENPAI – Makoto Niijima
Having just finished Persona 5, my state of living is either crying (sadness edition) or crying (happiness edition), while listening to the P5 soundtrack and remembering the crazy times I spent with the Phantom Thieves.
IAMSENPAI has created the perfect P5 nostalgia track by reworking the rainy version of Beneath the Mask and adding some wavy vocal snaps along with a solid, chugging beat. If you didn’t wanna light a fatty up to ‘Beneath the Mask’ before, IAMSENPAI has graciously provided the nudge you needed.
The track is named after Official Best Girl in the Phantom Thieves, Makoto Niijima, so dude has both a good ear for beats and a good eye for best girls, which is a combo that is much appreciated at UTM.
Elohim – ‘Eclipse’
The ever elusive electro-pop musician Elohim‘s decision to gift the world ‘Eclipse’ on the same day that a solar eclipse happened to occur wasn’t just a pleasant way to mark a rare occasion. It was also a great way to capitalise on the hordes of people hammering the word into search engines and social media sites, which is a feat in itself that warrants recognition as an artist who knows the ins-and-outs of promoting music to the millennial market.
Unlike the astronomical phenomenon, however, Elohim’s musical namesake isn’t an ephemeral matter – and experiencing it in all its gothic glory poses no significant threat to your wellbeing, which is always a welcome bonus. With hazy vocals and a post-chorus dance break, it’s not baseless to suggest it’s one of her most pop-centric tracks to date – especially considering you can further support that claim with the contextual tidbit that even she couldn’t stop humming the song prior to its spur-of-the-moment release.